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The story so far…

September 10, 2009

Month Intensive with Chellcy, May 2008

Little did I envision that hastily organizing a workshop would turn out to be the humble beginings of what came to be known as Bellydance Malta – the joint venture of two individuals with a mission to bring authentic Middle Eastern dance to Malta. That was twenty seven months ago, and although that chapter has come to a close, what an exciting journey it has been!!

My love affair with bellydance started in April 2005, when the flamenco school that I had been attending brought a brazilian bellydance teacher that at the time was based in India. Minutes into my very first class, I already knew that I had found my niche. Sadly, the teacher left after two months, and it wasn’t until April 2006 that another teacher was brought to the island. In the meantime, I had met Joanne at a Japanese language workshop, and I had talked her into giving bellydance a try. Needless to say, she was hooked after just one lesson. For the next ten months, we eagerly attended all the available lessons, until our teacher had to return back to her home country. Left without a teacher and without any hope of a replacement, I researched and connected with teachers around the world with a view of furthering our my in this beautiful form of dance and providing quality regular tuition in Malta.
We started off with a three-day workshop in Classical Egyptian in June 2007, followed by a four week course in Egyptian Cabaret in July 2007. A twelve week course in ATS was offered in October of the same year, followed by two twelve week courses in ATS and Tribal fusion respectively in February 2008. The month of May was intensively packed with a myriad of courses and workshops in Classical Egyptian, Folkloric and Spanish Fusion, thanks to one of our most regular visiting teachers, Chellcy Reitsma (Chicago, USA).

With Egyptian Master teacher Aida Nour, Cairo June 2009

In summer of the same year, I ventured across the Atlantic to study with some of the best American dancers – Portia (winner of the Nile Festival, 2008) and Xiomara in Florida, and Laura Ketchler of Sahara Dance in DC. Fall 2008 was an equally intensive period, where we had two visiting teachers: Chellcy and Laaryah for two months. Joanne and I also had our very first perfomances and gigs together: a hens party, two performances with our teachers at a local restaurant, Bellydance Malta’s very first student hafla with 30 minutes worth of performances and our very first TV appearance with some of our students on Xarabank – an immensely popular local TV show.

Sadly, everything must come to an end, and Bellydance Malta made it’s final curtain call this August. But in every end there is a new beginning, and I am excited to announce the birth of my own brainchild: YA HABIBI – School of Middle Eastern Dance. The venture in an entirely different concept from BDM, reflecting a brand new vision, direction and approach in the teaching of this beautiful artform.  There are many exciting projects and all will be revealed in due time.
Looking back, all the hard work, time and energy that I have relentlessly put into this little project, is finally paying off. It was not an easy ride and there is still a long road ahead, but with determination and perseverance I am positive that we will get there.  Failure is not an option and I will certainly never stop trying.

 My heartfelt thanks go to all those who have attended our courses and shows, friends and family for their continued support, and bosses/employers (yes I do have 9-5 day job!) for their patience and understanding: without you, none of this would have been possible. Thank you for your enthusiasm, encouragement and participation!